Are These the ‘Last Days’?

Melissa Barreiro/The Trumpet

Are These the ‘Last Days’?

Look at world events, and it’s clear why many are asking this question.
From the April 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Are we living in the “last days” described by the Bible? Some people will immediately answer: Surely not! Where are the supernatural heavenly signs? Where is the global cataclysm? This generation hasn’t even experienced a world war! So, because the biblical tribulation has not happened yet, neither is it going to happen. That’s how people reason.

But look at this world! Nuclear proliferation. Arms races. International terrorism. Mass beheadings. Sexual enslavement. Anti-Semitism. Racial division. Disease outbreaks. Economic implosion. Moral decay. Catastrophic storms, earthquakes and tsunamis. Then look at the Bible.

Compare the two, and you will begin to wonder: Are we living in the last days?

Westerners might soon forget about the unimaginable carnage of disasters like the Indonesia tsunami in 2004—but Indonesians haven’t forgotten. The people of China’s Sichuan province haven’t forgotten about the breathtaking loss of life caused by the massive earthquake of 2008. The people of Haiti still live with the scars of the 2010 earthquake that killed between 100,000 and 300,000 of them. The people of Japan won’t soon forget about the megaquake and killer tsunami that smashed the coast of Tohoku in 2011. A few weeks before that disaster, a devastating earthquake literally flattened the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. In America—a superpower many people view as immune to widespread suffering—the widespread flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005 buried the city of New Orleans and killed more than 1,800 people.

These are only a few of the “natural” disasters that have rocked our world in recent years. Think of the many man-made disasters you can stack on top of that! Just last year, isis raised its flag over large swathes of Syria and Iraq and announced itself a caliphate. Russia annexed Crimea and then thumbed its nose at the West. Pro-Russian separatists shot down a passenger jet over Ukraine, and the world did nothing. In America, Washington decided to open diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba. In the United Kingdom, Scotland nearly voted to dismember Great Britain from the inside out!

These are a few notable events from 2014. So far this year, we have seen Americans, Britons, Japanese, Jordanians, Egyptians, Iraqis, Jews and Christians gunned down, beheaded and burned alive. The barbarians calling themselves the Islamic State now control a territory larger than Great Britain. After gruesome attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, Israel’s prime minister has publicly urged Jews to flee Europe. Not Libya or Yemen—Europe.

Take a step back and what do you see? Over the past decade, several prophetic trends have continued unabated: The spread of terrorism. The rise of radical Islam and its number one state sponsor, Iran. The return of Germany as a world power. The political coercion by the Catholic Church. The moral, economic and political weakening of Britain, the Commonwealth and the United States. These are all specific, prophetic trends you can read of in your Bible!

There is nothing really to debate there. It’s just a time line of facts. But the question is, Are these normal times in which we are living? Or are we in fact living in what the Bible calls the “last days”?

More Than a Savior

The Bible is, without question, a fascinating book. Its writings have lasted for millennia. The entire Western world is linked to it on some level or another. This holy book has changed lives—it has shaped history. It’s the most unusual book there is, to have been compiled over centuries by all different authors in all different circumstances, to have a unified message throughout, and to be so influential among so many different nations—nations that aren’t even Hebrew!

There’s something about this book.

Even the non-religious must admit that the fundamental foundations of our Western society are built on the Bible and the revolutionary teachings of Jesus Christ. The supremacy of law. The judicial system. Morality. Virtues. The elemental role of family. It’s all tied to this book and to this man.

And this same man—God’s Son—talked about “the end of days”! Not some fringer. Not some wild-eyed prophet nobody took seriously. Jesus Christ Himself described what the world would be like right before He returned. Do His descriptions match up with the days we are living in right now?

He said in Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Yes, Jesus Christ said He would return. And He said that He would do it at a definite time—“when these things begin to come to pass.”

Jesus Christ, of course, is the supreme sacrifice and Savior. That is universally accepted within the world of traditional Christianity. But most Christians don’t actually read what He said. Those who do take the time to flip through one of the Gospels will instantly realize that Jesus was alsoa prophet! And what He spoke of in Luke 21 and several other passages found in the Gospels were actually prophesied events that are now happening for the first time in human history!

‘Perilous Times’

In looking at the world today, is it any wonder that so many serious-minded leaders and scientists are saying grave things about the dangerous drift in world conditions? In recent years, many journalists have even evoked the terms last days, end times—even Armageddon—to emphasize how dire global conditions really are. These terms and phrases come from the Bible. They describe modern global catastrophes! And yet, precious few in this world will bother to look into God’s inspired Word for answers to the problems we see multiplying around us.

The Apostle Paul warned, “This know also, that in the last daysperilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4).

Isn’t that a striking paradox? Here we are facing a mountain of global catastrophes—rampant violence, disease and suffering—and yet God says mankind is, at the same time, madly in love with self and addicted to pleasure!

We are entering a place that has no solutions. Such a place does have decisions, and all of the choices will be bad.
George Friedman of Stratfor
The Prophet Jesus said the same thing. In Luke 17, He said the “last days” would mirror those of Noah’s day, just before the Flood. Wickedness was rampant in those days. Every imagination of the thoughts of men was on evil continually—and the Earth was full of violence (Genesis 6:5, 11). And yet, “They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that [Noah] entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:27). It was a wretched and miserable world, and yet people were living it up, partying hard—and oblivious to the existential threat about to destroy their civilization!

We are living in these same days.

Bible prophecy is spot on! It describes our world as being drenched in sin—filled with indiscriminate violence, sexual perversion and unimaginable crimes. And yet, because of our maddening addiction to selfishness and pleasure-seeking, most people have no idea that we are in grave danger!

In January, after the brutal terrorist attacks in Paris against free speech advocates and Jews, George Friedman of Stratfor wrote, “We are entering a place that has no solutions. Such a place does have decisions, and all of the choices will be bad” (January 13; emphasis added throughout).

In February, noted historian Victor Davis Hanson said that with America ceding more and more power and influence to regional hegemons, the world is fast turning into the Wild West! “There is a strange new and dangerous sentiment brooding below the spoken surface that whatever is going on in the world and in America today cannot go onmuch longer …” (PJ Media, February 15).

This matches what the Bible prophesied to happen just before the glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

It’s all unfolding exactly the way the Bible said it would! It’s exactly what Paul described in 2 Timothy 3—that in the last days, this world would turn into the Wild West. Every man for himself. Men loving selfish pleasures more than God. Religion having a form of godliness but being just a deceptive facade with no godly authority or power behind it (verses 4-5). God’s inspired Word doesn’t guide people’s lives. Man refuses to submit to God’s laws. People do not believe that God will supernaturally intervene in the affairs of man. They don’t believe Jesus Christ is returning to this Earth to rule with a rod of iron. They wouldn’t accept it if they did believe it!

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth,” Paul said in verse 7. The more gain in materialistic knowledge, the further the drift from God and His truth—and the more dangerously violent this world grows. “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (verse 13).

This whole world is deceived! (Revelation 12:9; Ephesians 2:2). And as long as Satan and his evil influence remains, the curses of crime, violence, terrorism and war will multiply. Despite man’s best efforts to curb lawlessness and violence, evil and the men who promote it will only increase and worsen—until God supernaturally intervenes to stop the madness!

‘The End of the World’

Let’s return to what the Prophet Jesus said about the last days. In Matthew 24:3, it says, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Notice this! The disciples asked about the sign of Christ’s return—and of the end of this age of man’s rule over man, as influenced by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).

In Christ’s day, it was simply understood that some generation would experience “the end of the world.” Notice that Jesus did not correct His disciples for getting caught up in all that prophecy stuff, like many preachers do today. Don’t worry about prophecy or nations or wars or signs, men say. Just give your heart to the Lord—live what you think is a good life, and leave it at that.

That is not how Christ answered His disciples. Instead, He directly confirmed that there will be an end of this present evil world! He gave specific details we need to watch for so that we know when that end is upon us!

Now if these details, spoken by Jesus Himself, happen during our generation, thousands of years after Christ described them, shouldn’t we be jolted by that? It means that the Bible you have on your shelf is actually a better news source than the entire Internet! And if these details are happening right now, during our generation, doesn’t that mean we are living at the end of this age?

Notice the first and most important warning Christ gave His disciples: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5). You’ve heard of the four horsemen of the apocalypse from the book of Revelation; this is the first horseman! It is not just about deception from false, non-Christian religions. People are going to be deceived about Christ and His message—about what true Christianity really is. And it gets so bad that Christ’s own disciples are deceived. Christians will be deceived about Christ!

Humanity and its leaders have … to admit their utter failure in providing peaceful, happy and useful lives on this Earth.
Herbert W. Armstrong
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (verse 14). The word end here has to do with the end of a work or an era. When Herbert W. Armstrong came on the scene in the 20th century, he started proclaiming the plain truth about the coming Kingdom of God to rule the world! He preached what Jesus Christ Himself proclaimed. “And if I go … I will come again,” Christ said in John 14:3. Why has traditional Christianity utterly failed to preach this message—the gospel of a coming King and world ruler to administer God’s family government on Earth?

Just before the Second Coming, Christ said there “shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22). Again, these are Jesus Christ’s own words: Without God’s miraculous and powerful intervention, mankind won’t survive. That’s not what some wild-eyed fanatic once said. That’s what the Prophet Jesus consistently warned. And it’s only been in the last two generations or so that man has even acquired the weapons needed to destroy all human life. But now we have that capability—many times over, in fact.

Doesn’t that alone date the fulfillment of this prophecy? Jesus said that if not for God’s timely intervention, human civilization will perish. We are now staring that in the face.

In his booklet Are We in the Last Days?, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “God is not going to intervene or send Jesus Christ to set up a better civilization and the wonderful, happy, peace-loving World Tomorrow, until humanity and its leaders have had to admit their utter failure in providing peaceful, happy and useful lives on this Earth.”

This is why the forces of evil continue to advance as rapidly as they have been. This is why the world is turning into the Wild West, as Victor Davis Hanson noted. It’s because man refuses to humble himself before God. It’s because man won’t admit that without God, His spiritual law and His loving family government, it is impossible to build a peaceful and happy civilization.

During the Great Tribulation, mankind will finally begin to swallow that bitter pill. The truth will finally begin to sink in. And then, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (verse 29). These are the heavenly signs! This is the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-14. These supernatural signs are followed by the Day of the Lord—described in Joel 2:31 and many other prophecies.

After that: “[T]hen shall appear the sign of theSon of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). If you see the signs and know we are living in the last days Jesus prophesied about, then you know that our Savior’s return to Earth in power and glory is now just ahead of us!

Jesus Christ will soon return to Earth in the same manner He left almost 2,000 years ago (Acts 1:11). Only this time He’s not coming as a Lamb sacrifice for the sins of mankind. He’s coming to rule as the resurrected and glorified Son of God. He’s coming to forcibly put an end to human suffering and lawlessness and to set up the peaceful and happy Kingdom of God on Earth!